When I answered the “favorite song” question in the Photobucket meme (see #9), I actually chose my number two song. I think it is called “the familiarity effect” in cognitive psychology – I listen to my CD compilation of favorite Beatles’ songs occasionally, while I don’t even have a CD compilation of favorite “assorted” songs. So, it’s been several years since I last heard Hotel California.
But it is undoubtedly my most-favorite English language song. I first heard it as a “bonus track” tacked onto the end of the cassette tape that introduced me to the Beatles (which must have been in ’85 or ’86), and both the guitar intro and the long riffs at the end sounded absolutely awesome.
The song felt as if it was some sort of anthem to a person with then-limited English vocabulary. A friend of mine turned up some nonsense that the term “Hotel California” referred to the American prison for political dissidents, which echoed the very popular шансон genre, and made the song sound even more appealing to all of us closet rebels… I eventually learned the words, and while it was impossible for me to interpret much beyond the clear indictment of decadence, it did not diminish my affection for the song.
I bought an Eagles CD years later, but weren’t much impressed with anything else they produced. In fact, I can only name one other song by the band. But I was pleased to learn that Hotel California is widely considered one of the best songs of all time.